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Monday, 7 February 1994
Page: 503

(Question No. 952)

Senator Spindler asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 21 December 1993:

  With reference to the recent introduction of the fast, modern XPT trains on the Sydney to Melbourne rail corridor:

  (1) Is the Minister aware that the Victorian Public Transport Minister, Mr Alan Brown, has decided to cancel the long-planned daylight service on this route notwithstanding the following: (a) a capital investment of $75 million will spend over half of each day idle in the yards instead of earning revenue; (b) Commonwealth grants under the One Nation program and the Better Cities program have been allocated to upgrade the line which the XPT trains operate on; (c) thousands of phone bookings for the day train have already been made; and (d) an affordable alternative to interstate transport has been made largely inaccessible to families travelling with children due to the impracticalities of sitting up overnight.

  (2) Is Mr Brown's decision contrary to sensible public transport policy.

  (3) Is the Government prepared to intervene and undertake whatever remedial action may be required to reverse the Victorian Government's decision.

  (4) What action will the Government take in the future to ensure that conditions are placed upon Commonwealth grants which ensure good use is made of existing public transport fleets to serve interstate, city and country travellers' needs.

Senator McMullan —The Minister for Transport has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1), (2), (3) & (4) Rail passenger services between Sydney and Melbourne are the responsibility of the New South Wales and Victorian Governments. One Nation funding has been provided in the Sydney-Melbourne corridor in order to improve intercapital freight services. However, the improvements so funded will have the additional

benefit of improving conditions for passenger services. I understand that there has been no Better Cities funding associated with the Sydney-Melbourne rail corridor.